Saturday, December 9, 2023

Elon Musk’s latest madness: his Autopilot predictions could be deepfakes

Tesla’s lawyers are trying at all costs to avoid having claims made by Elon Musk about the reliability of Autopilot serve as evidence against him in a lawsuit related to a fatal accident with a Model X that occurred in 2018. His excuse? Alleging that the words that the tycoon said could be the result of a deepfake.

The company’s legal team, specifically, points out that Musk does not remember making a statement about the safety of Autopilot in 2016. In these, he said that “a Model S and a Model X, at this point, can drive autonomously more safely than a person. Right now”.

Later, they claim that The executive is the target of deepfakes that seek, in a certain way, to misrepresent his speech. “Like many public figures, (Elon Musk) is the subject of many ‘deepfake’ videos and audio recordings that purport to show him saying and doing things that he never actually said or did,” Tesla’s lawyers have detailed as an argument to avoid that Musk testify at trial, according to Reuters.

Image: Associated Press.

The trial in which Elon Musk could testify is related to the lawsuit that Walter Huang’s relatives filed in 2019. Huang, an Apple engineer, He died in 2018 due to an accident with his Model X. His parents claim that he had the autopilot on, but it didn’t work properly.

That same year, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) confirmed that Huang did not have his hands on the wheel in the six seconds before the accident. All this, in addition, despite the fact that the system sent the driver several alerts. The plaintiffs, however, claim that the tycoon made different statements regarding the advances of Autopilot. Among them, that the “vehicle drives itself” or the aforementioned.

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Judge Evette Pennypacker of the Santa Clara County Superior Court, who has heard the statements of Tesla’s lawyers, He has called the arguments “deeply worrying.”

“Their position is that because Mr. Musk is famous and could be more of a target for deepfakes, his public statements are immune,” Pennypacker said.

The judge also affirms that with these arguments any famous person could say what they wanted. And, at the time of a trial or the like, claiming that they are statements generated through a feepfake “to avoid appropriating what they really said and did.”

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